December 31, 2015

Pope Francis: ‘I don’t know how to sing. I don’t even know how to speak well.’

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Pope Francis arrives to lead a special audience for "Pueri Cantores" in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on December 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Francis arrives to lead a special audience for "Pueri Cantores" in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on December 31, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis told young choristers he sings “like a donkey” and once wanted to be a butcher.

The pope took the unusual opportunity to answer the choristers’ questions Thursday (Dec. 31) during the annual meeting of the Pueri Cantores, an international Catholic choral organization.

The give-and-take included insights from Francis about growing up in Argentina and his thoughts on media and anger.

Here are some of the pope’s responses:


READ: Singing, cooking and shooting — nuns made news in 2015


Singing

Francis acquired a love of music as a child, while listening to opera on the radio. But despite believing that singing is good for the soul, he said he has no such talents:

“I like hearing singing, but, if I sang, I’d sound like a donkey, because I don’t know how to sing. I don’t even know how to speak well, because I have a defect in the way I speak, in the phonetics.”

Childhood ambition

When he was a child the pontiff dreamed of being a butcher:

“Why? Because there were butchers in the market — there were three or four places for meat — taking the knife, cutting the pieces. … It’s an art, and I liked to see it, to watch it.”

Anger

The pontiff admitted he gets angry when people do something wrong.

“But I don’t bite!” he said.

He described anger as “poisonous” and seemed particularly aggrieved with those who have a “bitter soul”: “It seems that every morning they clean their teeth with vinegar to be so angry! People like this … it’s a sickness.”

The media

Although Francis doesn’t log online, he likes to read the papers and claimed to know a thing or two about the workings of global media:

“There are so many good things in the world, and I ask myself: Why are these good things not published? Because it seems that people prefer to see mean things or hear bad news. … If you want to have (a high) rating — journalist, television or whatever you want — show only bad things; people get bored of good things.”

(Rosie Scammell covers the Vatican for RNS)